You may have figured out by now that living comes with a few expenses—rent payments, taxes, utilities, groceries (and the list continues). Making rent payments can sometimes be a challenge, and no one wants to give up their phone plan, internet access or utility necessities.
So how can you make your rent more affordable? Here are a few methods to try.
Rental Assistance or Limited Rent
One option to look into is entering into a HUD-assisted housing program if your income level qualifies. Affordable housing programs usually fall under one of two general categories—“rent-assisted” and “limited-rent” housing.
Limited-rent housing have price ceilings that are placed on the amount of rent landlords can charge. The governmental body and landlord enter an agreement not to charge more than a certain price point. Typically, the price is determined by the median income of the surrounding population. The prices are usually lower than the average rent for comparable apartments.
Rent-assisted housing is a situation in which the government has a contractual agreement with a landlord to set a specified rent level. Renters pay a portion of the cost based on their adjusted income, while the government pays the remaining balance.
If you enter an affordable housing program, there is a list of deductions you might be eligible to claim. Many HUD-assisted residents find they’ve made incorrect rent calculations due to under-reporting of income or not receiving deductions and income exclusions.
Make sure you familiarize yourself with the rules around eligible deductions:
- $480 for each dependent, including full-time students or persons with a disability
- $400 for any elderly family or disabled family members
- Unreimbursed medical expenses of any elderly family members or disabled family members that total more than three percent of annual income--this expenditure is applied only once
- Unreimbursed reasonable-attendant care and auxiliary-apparatus expenses for disabled family members to be able to work that total more than three percent of annual income
- If an elderly family member has both unreimbursed medical expenses and disability assistance expenses, the family’s three-percent-of-income expenditure is applied only once
- Any reasonable child-care expenses for children younger than 13 necessary to enable a member of the family to be employed or to further his or her education
Whether you pursue a government-assisted program or not, handling your finances with care will ease some headaches. Make sure you know what your total monthly costs are, and find areas in which you can trim down expenses.
Prioritize actual needs, such as essential groceries and basic utilities, over comforts, such as smartphones or entertainment. Give a second thought before jumping to spending your paycheck on immediate expenses—think instead of setting money aside for unexpected future expenses.
A well-organized financial plan can go a long way in helping you determine what housing you can afford and keep you ahead of your living expenses.